Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


older | 1 | .... | 174 | 175 | (Page 176) | 177 | 178 | .... | 197 | newer

    0 0

    What started out as a family history book, with Ocean View resident Gordon Wood Sr. writing little letters for 10 grandchildren, has turned into a book that anyone who loves reading local history can enjoy reading.

    “It had started out — I had written some letters to my grandchildren, and they had some history in them. And then there were more letters and more letters… Then I started doing research on my mother’s family. I started doing research on my grandfather’s family — my mother’s folks who lived in Bethany Beach.

    “So I started writing it in a form that other people could use it, and that led to a book,” Wood said. “I found things of interest to each generation, going all the way back to 1675, when Walter came to right near Pocomoke. There was so much information, I felt there was an obligation to make it available to others, besides my grandchildren who I wanted to have it.”

    That book, “Letters to the Little Ones,” was first published in 2002; however, Wood recently had the second edition published through Salt Water Media.

    Wood, who served as Ocean View mayor for two terms, moved to Sussex County at age 11 and graduated from Lord Baltimore School. He went on to become a chemical engineer and lawyer. He would return to Ocean View after retiring in 1997.

    The book spans three centuries of Wood’s maternal family history, beginning in 1675, when Walter Evans, his eight-times-great-grandfather, left Wales for Maryland.

    Evans eventually married Mary Powell of Pocomoke and, in 1702, went on to purchase a tract of land that today is part of South Bethany.

    Wood worked with a number of individuals while researching for the book, including state historian Dick Carter.

    “I spent so much time… I had all this information and felt that I had gotten help from all these people, that I wanted to make it available to everybody,” said Wood. “Then it became even more than that, because there were so many generations.

    “I got interested in what each one of their lives might have been like, so I wrote a chapter on each of them. A lot of it’s fiction, based upon ‘other folks did this… other folks did this.’ That was it.”

    He also calls attention to the Ocean View Homecoming event, which “was a big deal,” recalling people dressing up in the affair in hats and coats.

    “It was a big deal. My grandmother and grandfather loved it, because they grew up here and they knew everybody.”

    Life on coastal Delmarva, as one might expect, long revolved around the water and farming, an aspect illustrated in “Letters.”

    “It was so isolated by the three bodies of water and the cypress swamp — plus the fact that, in the early days, nobody knew where the Delaware-Maryland line was, where it was going to be, so that there were no big estates built around here like you find elsewhere on the peninsula,” Wood explained.

    “It was unchanged for over 150 years. There are tabulations of what people owned… what they had simply didn’t change for over 100 years. They were all subsistence farmers. There was no big manufacturing here unless it was food-based — there was a canning factory here in Ocean View.”

    With that in mind, there is a whole chapter on Indian River schooners, owned by families whose names are still known in the area today — Lynch, Dickerson, Rickards, Gray and others.

    Some history shared in the book did not come easily, which was most definitely the case when it came to learning more about his great-great-grandfather Henry.

    “A great-great-grandfather should be easy to find, right?” said Wood. “He grew up here. I could find all sorts of property records. I knew he lived in Muddy Neck. He was my grandmother’s grandfather — Henry Dazey. It should be very easy… Around 1830, the ‘Dazeys’ started changing their names to ‘Daisey,’ and they finished that around 1870.

    “I could not find Henry Dazey anywhere. I found that he signed on a schooner… I knew he went to sea and thought, ‘Well, he must have died at sea.’”

    Prior to publishing the book, Wood contacted his cousin Barbara Slavin for her help in solving the mystery — which she did, by finding a “Samuel Henry Dasey” in Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church’s cemetery records.

    “It was an artifact from the change. You can search forever for a name, but if you don’t know the right last name, you’re not going to find it.”

    Wood said that, in the second edition of there book, there is also an 11th letter, for his granddaughter Sarah (named after his two grandmothers), who was yet not born when the first edition was published.

    “The first edition, I brought it to a family dinner over Christmas — it was one of the best afternoons I’ve ever had in my life. I sat at the dining room table and the little ones… and I told them about the book, signed it for them, and they all marched out with a book under their arm and an extra 3 inches taller,” he said.

    Now that the second edition is complete, Wood said he hopes to help his wife, Pat, write a book of her own, as he does not foresee any further editions “Letters.”

    “I’m proud of it. There are things in here that aren’t written anywhere else. It was a lot of fun — kept me off the streets.

    “‘Who is going to remember them when we who do are but a memory?’ he quoted from the epilogue. ‘There was more to this story than just the generations past. The unique, frozen in time, geographical isolation of Baltimore Hundred until the middle of the 20th century, and the forest, land and water resources molded the culture and heritage of our generations past into positive expression of both Baltimore Hundred’s isolation and resources.’”

    “Letters to the Little Ones: The Three-Century Story of a Pioneer Family & Their Descendants Living in Baltimore Hundred” is available for purchase on Amazon.com.


    0 0

    At the Frankford Town Council’s regular monthly meeting this week, Brad Whaley of the Sussex County Community Development Office discussed the Community Development Block Grant.

    “This year, there’s approximately $2 million in CDBG funding, and usually about $750,000 to $1 million in home funding available,” said Whaley. “The purpose of this funding is assist low- to moderate-income residents with housing issues. Primarily, we use it do to a lot of housing rehabilitation.”

    Whaley said his office manages more than 200 housing rehabilitations per year. Eligible activities include infrastructure improvements, sidewalks, street lights and demolition.

    “It must serve people with household incomes below 80 percent of area medium income — that’s set by DSHA,” he said. “Historically, we use the bulk of this funding — probably 95 percent of it — to repair homes.”

    Whaley said the office has a waiting-list of people from all local towns, including Frankford.

    “If the Town receives funding … we would start at the top of our list, qualify the people and manage all the way through,” he said, noting there were 12 people on Frankford’s waiting list alone.

    The funding has to be protected, said Whaley, noting that a lien is placed on the property, with the duration of the lien dependent on the age of the property owner and the amount of money spent.

    “If you’re over 62, it’s generally a five-year lien — it’s a pro-rated, non-interest-bearing lien, so there’s no repayment unless you sell the house in that period of time…. If you’re under 63, it’s a 10-year lien.”

    The funding is typically used to do basic home repairs, such as replacing a roof or furnace.

    Whaley said that, over the last 17 years, the Town of Frankford has received more than $250,000 in CDBG finding for housing repairs and assisted 26 households.

    He noted that his office applies for the grant funding on the Town’s behalf. The next application deadline for funding is Feb. 24. Those interested in the program or who would like to be placed on the list for assistance may contact Whaley’s office at (302) 855-7777.

    Also at this week’s council meeting, it was announced that the upcoming town council election will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. There are three seats up for election — those currently held by Skip Ash, Pam Davis and Marty Presley. But Presley announced at the meeting that he and his wife were considering moving out of town, and therefore he would not seek to be reelected to his position.

    The deadline for voter and candidate registration is Jan. 10.

    “If you want to help the town, that’s a good way to do it,” said Joanne Bacon.

    Water budget reviewed

    Presley said the Town needs to take a “very hard look” at its water system budget and decide what it wants to do going forward.

    For the current fiscal year, the Town budgeted $106,000 for maintenance of the system. Thus far, the Town has spent $58,069. They recently received a bill for $11,000 and were recommended to spend an additional $22,000 by consultants White Marsh.

    “If you factor in, along with the other contractual obligations we have between now and the fiscal year, we are already busted through that budget. We are $4,000 in the red.”

    Presley said it means that, in a perfect world, the Town can’t spend anything else on the water plant between now and July, “which we all know isn’t going to happen.”

    He said the Town will have to look at its budget, cut expenditures and put pressure on the State.

    In other Town news:

    • The Town has budgeted for snow removal and purchased a truck with a snow plow; however, the council needs to look into who will drive the truck, if necessary. They plan to look into whether they will hire someone to drive it and make sure they are insured to drive the vehicle.

    • With the end of the year having nearly arrived, Town employees will need to use up their accrued vacation. The Town will be looking into a temp agency to cover town hall and answer phones.

    • The Town’s police coverage, now being provided by the Delaware State Police, should begin next week. The Town hopes to have 12 hours of coverage per week, in three-hour shifts on four days each week.


    0 0

    The Armor Kids Church group at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church in Ocean View will present “Jingle Bell Beach” on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m.

    The program, according to Michelle Christopher, Mariner’s children’s church coordinator, is a music-filled story that centers on a music competition between three groups: the Starfish, the Snowflakes and the Electrons. The spirit of Christmas, Christopher said, gets lost in all the excitement of the competition, but in the end, the true message of the season is brought back into the spotlight.

    “The kids have been working really hard since October” to bring the performance together, she said.

    The cast includes all the members of Armor Kids, which is currently about 35 to 40 children from age 4 to fifth grade.

    Christopher said that, while the “Jingle Bell Beach” theme fits in well for the church’s location, that is not why she chose it.

    “Every year, I buy the one with the most parts,” she explained, since she wants to “make sure everybody has a special” part in the program.

    She said she emphasizes to the children that their hard work is important to the success of the program and that “we get to have fun and we get to bring the message of Christmas to everyone in the audience — even some people who might be sitting there not feeling the spirit of Christmas in their hearts.”

    The church’s CRASH youth program will play for the audience before the start of “Jingle Bell Beach.”

    The Armor Kids children’s church is held year-round, every Sunday during the 9:30 a.m. worship service, in a separate room from the regular service, Christopher said.

    “We worship in our own style, with our own music,” she said.

    The Christmas program is one of the major activities the Armor Kids do each year.

    Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church is located at 81 Central Avenue in Ocean View. For more information on “Jingle Bell Beach” and other programs, call the church at (302) 539-9510 or go to www.marinersbethel.org.


    0 0

    After several approval extensions requested by its builders in the past 10 years, the Millville Town Council at its Tuesday, Dec. 12, meeting approved the construction of 316 homes in the Dove Point development.

    The final site plan for Dove Point was approved by the council in December 2007. The first extension was granted to Beazer Homes in February 2011; the most recent extension was requested in December 2016, but the council denied it, asking the developer to come back with a fresh plan.

    Dove Point is located east of Route 26, adjacent to Burbage Road and Route 17.

    The original plans for Dove Landing called for 140 single-family homes, 142 townhouses and 120 condominiums. In the plan approved by the council this week, the condo units have been dropped, and the single-family units have increased to 171 and townhouses to 145.

    The recession of 2007 caused many area developers to put projects on the back burner, and subsequent changes in the housing market has brought adjustments in the configuration of many of those developments over the intervening years. Beazer, for its part, began the nearby Bishop’s Landing development and focused its attention there while the Dove Landing project was at a standstill.

    In addition to the reduction in housing density, the new plan calls for 96 additional head-in parking spaces throughout the development — 36 near the development’s amenities, such as the pool and clubhouse, and 60 more that will be interspersed through the development near pocket parks, according to Beazer Homes representative Steve Marsh.

    Changes have also been made to the development’s clubhouse and pool, increasing the size of each, Marsh said. After substantially increasing the size of the clubhouse, to 3,900 square feet, Marsh said, “We feel very confident that it’s sized appropriately.” He said Beazer plans to open the amenities by May 2019.

    The planned pocket parks will include facilities for bocce ball, lawn games and horseshoes, as well as a dog park and a community garden, Marsh said. A mail kiosk has also been added to the plans.

    Marsh added that right-of-way will be available for a connection between Dove Point and a neighboring parcel, for which a Home Depot store and a strip shopping center have been proposed.

    At the Dec. 12 meeting, a public hearing was held on the final plans, and some residents of Bishop’s Landing expressed concerns about the impact of construction at Dove Point on their neighborhood. Marsh assured them that steps will be taken to lessen the impact, such as shortening a planned road adjacent to Dove Landing townhouses and planting a landscaped buffer.

    The council voted 5-0 to approve the plans.

    The council also held a public hearing on a proposal to change the way it approves building permits for additions, such as porches, patios and decks. The change would add patios and decks to the list of additions that would be allowed to extend no farther than 5 feet past the setback line on the property.

    That brought concerns from several residents who felt that the potential for a patio or deck being limited to 5 feet in depth was unfair.

    Members of the council, as well as Town Manager Deborah Botchie, explained that the change is part of a townwide effort to reduce impacts of adding impervious surfaces, which can increase problems with flooding and runoff.

    “It’s a situation,” Botchie said. “We’ve had to deal with this for quite some time.”

    One of the major issues has been residents building patios with pavers that are installed permanently in the ground, as opposed to being placed on a base of sand or other surface that allows water to disperse into the ground.

    The council tabled a move to change the fee structure for building permits, to potentially double the fees when permits are not obtained until after a structure is built. The council plans to revisit that issue at its January workshop meeting.

    In other business, the council approved a grant of nearly $77,000 for the Millville Volunteer Fire Company. The grant is based on funds the Town has collected specifically for the fire company, as specified in a 2015 resolution that added a $500 impact fee for any new construction in the town.

    The funds are earmarked for the MVFC’s capital expenditures relating to outdated facilities or equipment used for daily operations, or to purchase capital items that enhance the fire and ambulance services’ operations.

    MVFC President Clarke Droney told the council that the funds will be used to repair the fire station’s roof, upgrade its exterior doors and upgrade lighting to more efficient LED-style lights in the fire house.

    The council approved the grant 4-0, with Councilman Steve Maneri abstaining.


    0 0

    The Town of Frankford is currently seeking residents to do their civic duty and serve on the town council. The Town will hold its annual election on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. at town hall.

    There are three council seats up for election, which are currently held by Skip Ash, Pam Davis and Marty Presley. At the council’s December meeting, Presley announced that he would not seek re-election, as his family was considering moving out of the town. The term of service for each of the seats is two years.

    Those who wish to run in the election must be at least 18, must have lived within the town for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the election, must be a qualified voter in the Town of Frankford and not have been convicted of a felony.

    Council meetings are held on the first Monday of each month, with “special meetings” dispersed throughout the year as well.

    Those who wish to vote in the upcoming election may register at town hall. While a Frankford citizen may already be registered to vote in State elections, they are not automatically registered to vote in the municipal election and must do so if they have not previously.

    Those who wish to register to vote in Frankford must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18, reside within the limits of the town for at least 30 days prior to the Feb. 3 election and fill out a voter registration card at town hall no later than Jan. 10.

    Anyone who is unsure if they are registered to vote in the election can check by contacting town hall.

    The deadline to register as a candidate in the election and/or register as a voter is Jan. 10.

    Frankford Town Hall is located at 9 Main Street in downtown Frankford. For more information about the election or how to register, call (302) 732-9424.


    0 0

    Coastal Point •Kerin Magill: Michelle Freeman, CEO of Carl M. Freeman Companies, spoke at the Southern Delaware Tourism’s 2017 Tourism Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 6Coastal Point •Kerin Magill: Michelle Freeman, CEO of Carl M. Freeman Companies, spoke at the Southern Delaware Tourism’s 2017 Tourism Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 6“An algorithm can’t give you a smile.”

    With those words, Carl M. Freeman Companies CEO Michelle Freeman summed up what separates southern Delaware businesses from online sellers.

    Freeman was speaking at Southern Delaware Tourism’s 2017 Tourism Awards Luncheon, held on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at the Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center in Rehoboth Beach. The event honored four groups for excellence in service to tourism in the area.

    “Sussex County,” Freeman said, “has a warmth that’s different and unique all unto itself,” and she urged the business owners in attendance to embrace that and to use it to promote their businesses.

    Freeman said that, while small businesses in southern Delaware may not have access to one-hour deliveries and other online perks, “the way we compete is by the traditional ways of retail, the traditional ways of tourism — friendliness, smiles…”

    She emphasized that the key to success in tourism is “this collaborative, creative piece of getting people through your door and then keeping them as customers.”

    “How you compete with Amazon is you tell them what you have for sale and why it’s different and unique and important to come shop on Main Street,” Freeman said.

    Freeman recalled her days as a real estate sales agent and talking to people who were visiting the Delaware beaches.

    “They would always describe this feeling of coming over the Bay Bridge or coming down Route 1 and what it meant to them as human beings,” she said. “What our customers talk about are feelings,” rather than concrete details, she said.

    She suggested that what business owners need to accomplish is “to try to keep what’s special about Sussex County, and continue to grow as a county, and be smart about our growth,” as well as to offer “not good, but great customer service, so when they book their vacation, or they buy a house from us, or they come into our restaurant and they have dinner, they say, ‘That was the best I’ve ever had.”

    Freeman acknowledged the work of Southern Delaware Tourism Executive Director Scott Thomas, who advocates for the beach area at the state level.

    “We need people in this county to stand up for us,” she said.

    The 2017 honorees were:

    • Best Attraction — Lefty’s Alley and Eats, Lewes. Lefty’s opened in December 2016 and offers an arcade, laser tag and 16 lanes of “luxury” bowling. In its first year of operation, Lefty’s hosted more than 140,000 visitors. With more than 80 full- and part-time employees, the business also partners with area organizations on fundraising efforts.

    • Best Event — Dogfish Dash, Milton. The Dogfish Dash began in 2007 as a 5K/10K race with 200 runners, and is now an 8K (in keeping with Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats “off-centered” philosophy. This year, the Dogfish Dash raised more than $145,000 for the Delaware Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and welcomed more than 3,500 runners representing 22 states, as well as participants from as far away as Australia.

    • Best New Event — Winter WonderFEST, Lewes. Now in its second year, Winter WonderFEST is produced by the non-profit Festival of Cheer Inc. The event, which has been expanded this year to include more activities, is located at Cape Henlopen State Park and in its first year featured more than 60 light displays along a 1.5-mile drive, a Christmas Village at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal grounds, a synthetic ice rink, amusement rides, live music, Santa’s Workshop and pictures with Santa. Winter WonderFEST welcomed more than 45,000 visitors over 30 evenings, with the help of more than 200 volunteers. The event raised more than $150,000 — more than $100,000 of which was donated to 12 Sussex County charities.

    • Tourism Partner of the Year — Delaware Beach Book. Launched in 2011 by Becky and Marvin Carney, and Kevin Fleming, the Delaware Beach Book is a hardcover guide to the state’s beach resorts. The book is distributed to hotels and motels, weekly rental properties, condominiums and bed-and-breakfasts, as well as waiting rooms, new home owners and area events.


    0 0

    Offshore wind companies are already hoping to install wind turbines off the Delaware coast. Delaware just needs to decide if the state will participate in buying the energy or helping to build the system.

    In the Atlantic Ocean, two companies purchased leases to offshore sites near Delaware. These sites are managed by the federal government, through the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM).

    First, Deepwater Wind holds the Delaware lease, a triangular plot from about Rehoboth Beach to Fenwick Island. Through the Skipjack Wind Farm project, they would only develop the southern half of the lease area.

    Also, U.S. Wind has purchased both Maryland lease areas, stacked along Ocean City and Assateague with a tip near Fenwick Island.

    Skipjack would begin about 18 miles offshore. U.S. Wind is willing to begin about 17 miles offshore, although the lease area is much closer to land.

    After the feds permitted companies to claim these offshore sites, Maryland stepped up as the first electric customer. In May, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved Deepwater Wind and US Wind to deliver a total of 368 megawatts to Maryland customers. So Maryland would be responsible for that clean energy, but also some investment.

    Deepwater could do anything with the northern half of that Delaware lease. It could produce and sell electricity to Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or anyone else who wants to make a deal and offer renewable energy credits.

    These aren’t cheap projects, and everyone has to decide: how much do the taxpayers and customers pay or benefit.

    “Other companies are preparing proposals to build offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast. And states and the federal government have coordinated to designate areas [from North Carolina to Massachusetts]. We are talking about an industry that is being promoted up and down the East Coast,” said Tom Noyes of Delaware Division of Energy & Climate.

    Delaware’s progress

    report

    Once ahead of the game with wind energy plans that disintegrated in 2011, Delaware now trails Maryland.

    This month, Delaware’s Offshore Wind Working Group was instructed to have written a final report by Dec. 15. But the governor will just have to make due with a progress report. This spring, the group was charged with investigating Delaware’s potential for using wind power and making recommendations to the General Assembly.

    After about three hours of debate on Dec. 11, they basically agreed to continue investigating the options, realizing that they don’t know enough about the costs versus benefits to make an educated decision about anything.

    So they’ll continue to study the range of options: making a major purchase of power; focus on small-scale purchases; wait for more wind proposals; or explore other renewable energy.

    For each option, they’ll question the cost and benefits to ratepayers, taxpayers, the economy and overall society.

    The group voted against recommending that Delaware immediately purchase from one of the two companies already off the coast.

    Delaware is also talking to the feds to brainstorm better regional coordination of sites.

    All Offshore Wind Working Group meetings are open to the public and can be listened to via speakerphone (details on meeting agendas). Briefing materials, all public comments and additional resources are posted online at www.de.gov/offshorewind.

    For more information or to submit written comments, contact Tom Noyes, Division of Energy & Climate, by emailing Thomas.Noyes@state.de.us or calling (302) 735-3480.

    Public feedback

    In a continuous effort to get public perspective, the working group hosted two public meetings in Odessa and Lewes.

    Around 100 people attended a Dec. 5 workshop in Lewes Public Library, prompting Tom Noyes to joke, “Nothing warms the heart more of a civil servant” than to see a full house of public engagement.

    Delaware hasn’t decided which way to go, but they invited Deepwater and U.S. Winds to give some background and answer questions.

    Anglers would still have access to the ocean near turbines. Asked about access for fishing boats, Stephanie Wilson of Deepwater Wind said, “we are not allowed to prevent access to the area,” except for some safety zone restrictions during construction.

    Some people (including Wilmington high school students) said the state has an obligation to public health and future generations. Clean power would prevent asthma attacks, sick days, respiratory illness and hospital visits, said John Mateyko of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light. “Don’t delay. Act now and learn from doing,” said Mateyko, noting that greenhouse gas emission rates are still increasing.

    Former State Rep. George Bunting worried about a different kind of environmental impact. Despite a wide shipping lane that would remain between lease sites, he hypothesized about a fuel spill if a ship collided with a wind turbine. He said Delaware is still paying for the clean energy experiments of Fisker Automotive and Bloom Energy.

    Conversely, some people suggested that Delaware should focus solar power as a less expensive alternative to offshore construction.

    Plus, wind energy is cleaner than burning coal, but it wouldn’t immediately shut down coal power plants. State Rep. Rich Collins (R-41) doubted that wind power will be able to heat or cool thousands of homes on the coldest or hottest of days.

    A researcher at University of Delaware encouraged people to educate themselves, whether they support wind or not. Europe has already done much of the legwork to build a large offshore wind economy, Bonnie Ram said. This could help Delaware expand beyond a limited economy of agriculture and tourism.

    “Scientists are right down the street [in Lewes], which is why I felt obligated to talk,” Ram added. “Many people have a lot of information … there’s some uncertainties, but there’s many, many answers.”

    People expressed similar pros and cons at the northern meeting.

    “I’m not sympathetic to people who say they don’t like to see the windmills to distort their view off of Rehoboth Beach,” said Charles Falletta. “There won’t be a Rehoboth Beach if we don’t start moving on it. And if you look at other countries in the world, they are way ahead of us.”

    But people who love a clean horizon are passionate about an unobstructed view, including residents. There is debate about the bigger impact: wind turbines driving tourists away, or encouraging them to visit the shores or even boat to the site.

    But as Ocean City Council lobbies to push wind turbines farther offshore and out of sightlines, wind power is in limbo at the federal level. In July, Maryland Congressman Andy Harris introduced an amendment to the annual appropriation that would prohibit federal funding for evaluations of wind projects less than 24 nautical miles from shore. At this point, the federal budget either needs to be settled or Harris could pull the amendment.


    0 0

    Offshore wind companies are already hoping to install wind turbines off the Delaware coast. Delaware just needs to decide if the state will participate in buying the energy or helping to build the system.

    In the Atlantic Ocean, two companies purchased leases to offshore sites near Delaware. These sites are managed by the federal government, through the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM).

    First, Deepwater Wind holds the Delaware lease, a triangular plot from about Rehoboth Beach to Fenwick Island. Through the Skipjack Wind Farm project, they would only develop the southern half of the lease area.

    Also, U.S. Wind has purchased both Maryland lease areas, stacked along Ocean City and Assateague with a tip near Fenwick Island.

    Skipjack would begin about 18 miles offshore. U.S. Wind is willing to begin about 17 miles offshore, although the lease area is much closer to land.

    After the feds permitted companies to claim these offshore sites, Maryland stepped up as the first electric customer. In May, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved Deepwater Wind and US Wind to deliver a total of 368 megawatts to Maryland customers. So Maryland would be responsible for that clean energy, but also some investment.

    Deepwater could do anything with the northern half of that Delaware lease. It could produce and sell electricity to Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or anyone else who wants to make a deal and offer renewable energy credits.

    These aren’t cheap projects, and everyone has to decide: how much do the taxpayers and customers pay or benefit.

    “Other companies are preparing proposals to build offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast. And states and the federal government have coordinated to designate areas [from North Carolina to Massachusetts]. We are talking about an industry that is being promoted up and down the East Coast,” said Tom Noyes of Delaware Division of Energy & Climate.

    Delaware’s progress

    report

    Once ahead of the game with wind energy plans that disintegrated in 2011, Delaware now trails Maryland.

    This month, Delaware’s Offshore Wind Working Group was instructed to have written a final report by Dec. 15. But the governor will just have to make due with a progress report. This spring, the group was charged with investigating Delaware’s potential for using wind power and making recommendations to the General Assembly.

    After about three hours of debate on Dec. 11, they basically agreed to continue investigating the options, realizing that they don’t know enough about the costs versus benefits to make an educated decision about anything.

    So they’ll continue to study the range of options: making a major purchase of power; focus on small-scale purchases; wait for more wind proposals; or explore other renewable energy.

    For each option, they’ll question the cost and benefits to ratepayers, taxpayers, the economy and overall society.

    The group voted against recommending that Delaware immediately purchase from one of the two companies already off the coast.

    Delaware is also talking to the feds to brainstorm better regional coordination of sites.

    All Offshore Wind Working Group meetings are open to the public and can be listened to via speakerphone (details on meeting agendas). Briefing materials, all public comments and additional resources are posted online at www.de.gov/offshorewind.

    For more information or to submit written comments, contact Tom Noyes, Division of Energy & Climate, by emailing Thomas.Noyes@state.de.us or calling (302) 735-3480.

    Public feedback

    In a continuous effort to get public perspective, the working group hosted two public meetings in Odessa and Lewes.

    Around 100 people attended a Dec. 5 workshop in Lewes Public Library, prompting Tom Noyes to joke, “Nothing warms the heart more of a civil servant” than to see a full house of public engagement.

    Delaware hasn’t decided which way to go, but they invited Deepwater and U.S. Winds to give some background and answer questions.

    Anglers would still have access to the ocean near turbines. Asked about access for fishing boats, Stephanie Wilson of Deepwater Wind said, “we are not allowed to prevent access to the area,” except for some safety zone restrictions during construction.

    Some people (including Wilmington high school students) said the state has an obligation to public health and future generations. Clean power would prevent asthma attacks, sick days, respiratory illness and hospital visits, said John Mateyko of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light. “Don’t delay. Act now and learn from doing,” said Mateyko, noting that greenhouse gas emission rates are still increasing.

    Former State Rep. George Bunting worried about a different kind of environmental impact. Despite a wide shipping lane that would remain between lease sites, he hypothesized about a fuel spill if a ship collided with a wind turbine. He said Delaware is still paying for the clean energy experiments of Fisker Automotive and Bloom Energy.

    Conversely, some people suggested that Delaware should focus solar power as a less expensive alternative to offshore construction.

    Plus, wind energy is cleaner than burning coal, but it wouldn’t immediately shut down coal power plants. State Rep. Rich Collins (R-41) doubted that wind power will be able to heat or cool thousands of homes on the coldest or hottest of days.

    A researcher at University of Delaware encouraged people to educate themselves, whether they support wind or not. Europe has already done much of the legwork to build a large offshore wind economy, Bonnie Ram said. This could help Delaware expand beyond a limited economy of agriculture and tourism.

    “Scientists are right down the street [in Lewes], which is why I felt obligated to talk,” Ram added. “Many people have a lot of information … there’s some uncertainties, but there’s many, many answers.”

    People expressed similar pros and cons at the northern meeting.

    “I’m not sympathetic to people who say they don’t like to see the windmills to distort their view off of Rehoboth Beach,” said Charles Falletta. “There won’t be a Rehoboth Beach if we don’t start moving on it. And if you look at other countries in the world, they are way ahead of us.”

    But people who love a clean horizon are passionate about an unobstructed view, including residents. There is debate about the bigger impact: wind turbines driving tourists away, or encouraging them to visit the shores or even boat to the site.

    But as Ocean City Council lobbies to push wind turbines farther offshore and out of sightlines, wind power is in limbo at the federal level. In July, Maryland Congressman Andy Harris introduced an amendment to the annual appropriation that would prohibit federal funding for evaluations of wind projects less than 24 nautical miles from shore. At this point, the federal budget either needs to be settled or Harris could pull the amendment.


    0 0

    The Delaware Department of Justice released the final report regarding the officer-related shooting that took place just outside of Ocean View on March 18.

    “We did an in-depth investigation ourselves, and I had the luxury of being out there that evening, so I had a lot of first-hand information in regards to this particular event,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. “I wasn’t anticipating any surprises from the report. I think the entire thing was pretty straight-forward.”

    According to the report, attorneys with the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust reviewed the use-of-force incident — including crime scene evidence, dash- and body-camera footage, reports written by officers who responded to the scene, and witness interviews.

    “The investigation of the facts and circumstances fully support the reasonableness of the [Ocean View Police Officer Nick Harrington’s and Worcester County Sheriff Deputy Anthony Rhode’s] belief that their lives and the lives of each other were in danger,” reads the report, released earlier this week. “That belief was not formed recklessly or negligently. As a result, the use of deadly force was justified and therefore not subject to criminal prosecution.”

    The Saturday evening the incident occurred, at approximately 8:10 p.m., Worcester County Sheriff Deputy Anthony Rhode reportedly spotted a green truck without its side-view mirrors with the driver, later identified as Troy Short, not wearing his seatbelt.

    According to the report, Rhode activated the lights of his fully-marked patrol vehicle in an effort to conduct a traffic stop, however, Short neglected to stop, and in fact, led chase at speeds approaching 70 miles per hour in areas posted at 35 miles per hour.

    During the pursui,t Rhode reportedly lost sight of Short, while other units reporting observed Short’s continued travel. Rhode was able to catch up with Short, east of Route 589 in Maryland. However, he was able to elude the officer again, according to officials.

    Following the report of a burglary in progress at a residence in Berlin, Md., around 8:34 p.m., dispatch reportedly received a 911 call that a Chevrolet Blazer had been stolen from a residence. The vehicle was later found abandoned. At 9:21 p.m. dispatch reportedly received a report of a stolen black Chevrolet Silverado truck in the Bishopville area.

    Officers observed Short driving the vehicle, and reportedly attempted to make contact by waving their flashlights to get him to stop, however he proceeded to drive. Minutes later, dispatch received a call reporting a burglary and the theft of a black Infiniti QX56 SUV from a residence in Bishopville, Md., according to reports.

    In the report. it notes that a knife stolen from that same residence was recovered in the Infiniti later that evening.

    In pursuit, Short was able to avoid stop sticks, and continued on Route 54 into Selbyville. By the time Short was south of Frankford near Peppermill Road, dispatch was aware of the vehicle’s location, and informed officers of the direction in which he was traveling, according to officials.

    At one point, Short reportedly stopped the vehicle between two driveways on Main Street in Frankford. Rhode, still in pursuit, located the vehicle with help of dispatch.

    Rhode observed Short was slumped completely over toward the passenger side with his hands still on the wheel. Rhode, who had his gun on the subject, was waiting for backup when Short reportedly woke up and looked over and attempted to start the car. Rhode yelled, “don’t do it,” according to reports, and took out his baton in an attempt to smash the driver’s side window.

    “At about the third strike of the window, Mr. Short was able to place the car in drive, took off at the end of the driveway, jumping the curb, traveling through bushes and a front yard and fled on Route 26,” read the report.

    Short was driving toward Pine Grove Lane, just outside of Ocean View. Officer Harrington, who was familiar with the area, advised SUSCOM of that fact and was following directly behind Short.

    It was at that time, Short reportedly “brake-checked” Harrington before putting the Infiniti in reverse and accelerating into Harrington’s patrol car, around 10:30 p.m. The impact caused the airbags to deploy and significantly damaged the front end of the patrol car, and forced him to exit from the passenger side of the vehicle, according to police.

    The report noted that the dash camera in Harrington’s vehicle was destroyed in the impact. McLaughlin said they believe the force of the airbag deployment caused Harrington’s body camera to turn on.

    After colliding with Harrington’s patrol vehicle, Short continued to drive the Infiniti in reverse toward Rhode’s vehicle, however he missed it, striking a mailbox and driving into an empty lot.

    Rhode reportedly drove his vehicle toward the lot, but parked it and exited after seeing the Infiniti’s driver’s side-door open. At that point, Short returned to the Infinity, made a u-turn, “and drove directly toward Deputy Rhode and Officer Harrington who had run to assist Deputy Rhode.”

    According to the report, Rhode said while he tried to move left out of the vehicle’s path, Short changed course to follow.

    Rhode had his gun drawn and yelled “stop,” but Short continued to drive toward the officers, according to police statements.

    That is when Officer Harrington, who was behind and just to the left of Rhode, discharged his weapon in the direction of the vehicle in an attempt to stop Short, per the report. As both officers fired rounds, the vehicle veered and came to a stop in the front yard of a neighboring property.

    The two officers then gained access to Short, and called for paramedics, as Short had suffered a gunshot to the head.

    Paramedics arrived to the scene and provided aid to Short and Harrington. Short was critically injured but did survive the shooting.

    “It’s a sad situation,” said McLaughlin. “It’s a shame the individual had to be injured.”

    The report stated that a toxicology report confirmed the presence of multiple drugs in Short’s system.

    “This is just another tragedy related to the drug epidemic. Just another sad story of someone who gets hooked on hard drugs. It’s unfortunate there’s nothing but tragedy that comes out of it,” said McLaughlin.

    While the report found there to be no reason for criminal charges to be filed against Rhode or Harrington, it doesn’t preclude Short or his family from filing a civil suit.

    “However, the combination of our administrative investigation and the criminal investigation, which really delved into the facts of the case with two different perspectives… it would be quite a difficult road for them to pursue,” said McLaughlin.

    McLaughlin said he was confident that the actions taken by Harrington and Rhode were lawful following the incident, as his department also conducted an administrative review of the event.

    “We primarily look for policy violations but we’re also looking for other things, anything that was done — right or wrong — that could be used for training purposes. Quite frankly we didn’t uncover anything that was wrong in any aspect.”

    McLaughlin said running toward a dangerous situation is part of a police officer’s every day job description, and was pleased with how the two officers handled the situation.

    “You don’t know when it’s coming, but when you’re called you have to rise to the occasion. I think that’s exactly what Officer Harrington and Deputy Rhode did. They were in a critical situation, everything was happening very fast, and their performances are to be commended.

    “This is not something that happens often in the Ocean View area, thank God. Hopefully it’ll be another 20 years before we have another officer-involved shooting, but the fact of the matter is, the day after the event we were training for the next one.”

    McLaughlin said he was grateful his officers receive extensive training to be able to deal with life-threatening situations in milliseconds.

    “There’s a lot of preparation and training that we’ve invested into Officer Harrington and it paid off, as he and Deputy Rhode were able to come away unscathed,” he said. “His performance is commendable. He had the option, as anyone does, to turn around and run the other way. They didn’t do that. They stood their ground and confronted the threat and mitigated it. They were able to stop this individual who was really putting society in danger that evening, especially the motoring public and the other officers involved…

    “It’s a miracle… I’ve watched the videos and the driving on the part of Mr. Short was absolutely outrageous. It was about as reckless as you can imagine and it’s a sheer miracle he didn’t end up colliding with another vehicle… other than Officer Harrington’s, obviously. He was a clear dangerous to the public. Both of them are heroes as far as I’m concerned.”

    McLaughlin said he is proud of how his whole department handled the situation that evening and in the weeks follow for their professionalism, support and commitment to serving the citizens of Ocean View.

    “I was so proud of everyone that evening — all the members of the department — on how we were able to mobilize and put our plans and policies for dealing with an officer-involved shooting immediately,” said McLaughlin. “The whole thing — Nick’s actions out there and his performance, and the performance of everyone in the department that evening and the days and weeks afterwards made me really proud of everyone here.”


    0 0

    Bethany Beach will be following in the sandy footsteps of one of its neighbors this summer, if the Town follows through on its intention to officially ban canopies, tents and oversized umbrellas on its beach.

    At a Dec. 12 town council workshop, the council voted 6-1 to direct the Town’s Charter & Ordinance Review Committee to draft beach regulations that would ban from the beach all tents and canopies, as well as any umbrella larger than 8 feet in diameter. The only exception to the ban is so-called “baby tents,” which could measure up to 3 feet in any dimension.

    The vote came on the heels of discussion over the past few months of concerns expressed by some residents heading into the summer of 2017 that the larger shading devices were a problem that was growing out of control.

    The complaints particularly targeted people using large canopies and tents, placing multiple devices in groups or spreading out towels and chairs around them, placing tents in locations that blocked the view of the shoreline (thereby preventing families from monitoring children from a distance) and setting them up very early in the morning but not making use of them until later in the day.

    CORC studied the issue over the summer, taking photographs to document how the devices were being used and collecting comments. That led to the council asking for a townwide survey on the issue, which was approved in mid-October and opened to responses before Halloween, with a Dec. 1 deadline to respond.

    Councilwoman Rosemary Hardiman, who heads up CORC, noted that while the committee and council had discussed for several months the issue of shading devices and whether to prohibit them or restrict them to certain parts of the beach, they had heard from a small number of people who opposed a ban but, she said, they didn’t have an understanding of the opinions of the wider community.

    “I don’t consider surveys advisable in every situation,” she said at the Dec. 12 workshop, but “because this will potentially affect the quality-of-life of those who use the beach and those who rent properties for summer,” she felt a survey was needed.

    With encouragement from the Bethany Beach Landowners Association and some local Realtors, property owners and residents were asked to respond to the survey. The Town received 1,253 electronic responses and another 26 on paper.

    Hardiman said there had been some concerns expressed “about people who don’t own property here sneaking responses in,” but Town staff did check the eligibility for all submissions. That led to 80 of the survey responses being disqualified, but Hardiman said those 80 were still reviewed for comparison against the results of the survey as a whole, and including them didn’t change the results “by much, and they certainly don’t change the outcome.”

    With the disqualified responses included, she said, the numbers were only slightly higher for support of a prohibition on oversized umbrellas and slightly less for both a ban on tents and one on banning all shading devices.

    Relying primarily on the results from the electronic surveys, Hardiman said, 99 percent of respondents said they had used the beach this summer or had had people stay at their Bethany home who had used the beach this summer.

    “I think we have a fairly good representation of people’s experience on the beach and what they would like to see,” she said.

    Of those who said they had used the beach, 90 percent said they used regular beach umbrellas (up to 8 feet in diameter), while 3.67 percent said they used oversized umbrellas, 8.62 percent said they used canopies, 5.43 percent said they used tents and 6.78 percent said they used no shading devices at all.

    “An overwhelming number of people use a standard umbrella,” Hardiman emphasized.

    Asked about the idea of banning some or all of the shading devices, respondents were split on oversized umbrellas, with 46.45 percent favoring a ban on devices larger than 8 feet. But a substantial 70.55 percent favored a ban on canopies, while 73.58 percent favored banning tents on the beach. About 17.5 percent opposed any ban.

    Those who said they supported a ban on some or all of the devices, Hardiman said, had expressed negative comments about canopies and tents, but particularly about canopies. She said complaints ranged from about how much space they take up on the beach to the problem of people setting them up early, or spreading out around them, or the danger of them blowing away if left unattended.

    People also expressed frustration at the difficulty of navigating around them — particularly with multiple devices placed in groups. They said they found it easier to navigate around standard umbrellas and blankets.

    Those who supported allowing the devices said they felt they were more practical for large families, those with special needs and for general protection from the sun, she said, adding that many who supported banning tents had clarified that they had no objection to the 3-foot “baby tents.”

    More than half of those supporting a ban (51.34 percent) said they would not support allowing the devices even if they were restricted to a certain area of the beach, such as back against the dune, or even if they restricted in size. About a quarter of them said they would consider allowing oversized umbrellas in a certain location, while about a third said they’d consider allowing tents or canopies in a certain location.

    “In the spirit of trying to find a compromise,” Hardiman noted, “at least a third of the people who responded that they did not want them” said that if they were in a different location, they would be willing to consider allowing them.

    The survey had also asked respondents to offer any other beach issues, besides shading devices, that were of concern. She said most of the comments had broken down into two types: (1) those who would accept a compromise, such as restricting the devices to a certain location, but who struggled with practical issues, such as enforcement, the designated location and impacts on areas for play and trash collection, and also those who said the dunes were already not being respected; and (2) about 5 percent of respondents, who said they had concerns about people setting up encampments early in the day and leaving them unattended until later.

    Hardiman said she felt the survey results had addressed the quality-of-life issues and the financial issues for rental-property owners. She noted that the Town’s finance director had queried seven real estate agencies that rent properties in the town, and each of them “felt there would be no impact on rentals.”

    Council looks

    for compromise,

    doesn’t find one

    Having reviewed the survey results, the council was left with three basic options to consider moving forward, Hardiman said: (1) do nothing; (2) prohibit all shading devices except umbrellas 8 feet in diameter or smaller, as well as baby tents; or (3) try to find some middle ground, such as confining the other devices to an area at the back of the beach or the ends of the boardwalk.

    “I would prefer the middle ground,” she said, “but I’m not sure I see a practical solution as to where to put them or how to enforce it that isn’t problematic. In deference to the 70-plus percent who voted to prohibit” canopies, tents and oversized umbrellas, Hardiman said she was left recommending the council prohibit all shading devices except standard 8-foot umbrellas and baby tents.

    Several of the council members said they, too, had come into the discussion thinking that some kind of middle ground should be found.

    Councilman Jerry Morris said he’d come in with the idea that canopies should be allowed on the beach. But, “After reviewing all the options, I don’t see a practical way of accommodating everybody. … I don’t see any practical way of coming up with a solution that makes everybody happy, other than banning them.

    “We do have a very short beach, and I think if we don’t do something now — we’ve seen over the last couple years, there’s more and more canopies showing up, and more and more people ganging them up two or three together. … In the end, I just can’t see us allowing them to be used.”

    “The majority of people … just don’t like it,” Morris added. And while there is a potential problem for elderly people who need shade, he said, “In the past we had umbrellas. I’m not sure that’s a viable alternative, to say you need canopies.

    Councilman Joseph Healy said he, too, had initially considered recommending canopies be allowed back near the dune line.

    “I thought that might be an alternative. But I looked at the beach — it’s so, so narrow, and there just wasn’t enough room. So, in rethinking the subject, I couldn’t come up with a solution. I have to mirror what [Morris] said.”

    Councilman Patrick Shepley said he had been influenced significantly by the results of the survey.

    “No question about it — an overwhelming number of people who responded preferred to ban everything except umbrellas,” he said. “I still struggle with the canopies. I would be strongly in favor of limiting the size of canopies, should we allow those, to the same dimensions as the umbrellas. They don’t block the view. They don’t have sides. They take up slightly more space and have four poles instead of one. I would be in favor of not allowing supports to extend outside the perimeter of the canopy.

    “I don’t see a practical solution with their location,” he added. “I would like to continue to discuss that possibility as a compromise. I do see specific reasons in the comments for use of canopies,” he noted, including those with special needs and the elderly. “I would like to continue discussion of the compromise of allowing them to be restricted to 8 feet square.”

    Vice-Mayor Lew Killmer expressed concerns that the Town was trying to address something that wasn’t a big problem and might, in the process, cause difficulties with the large families who come to Bethany year after year.

    “Bethany Beach is a family-friendly community,” he said. “We see every summer a large gathering of families who come back here year after year. Because of that, it’s important that we consider those kinds of people who come here to enjoy our beach. The survey said 90 percent used a standard umbrella, and only 9 percent used canopies.

    “That being said, are we trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist? If 90 percent area already using umbrellas, why are we creating all these regulations for our beach? I’d suggest if canopies are used, especially for the elderly and young children who need shade (especially in this age of growing [concerns about] skin cancer), I’d suggest allow canopies, but with no sides.

    Killmer said he also had questions regarding enforcement, such as who is going to enforce the rules and when, and what happens if people set up a banned device and there’s no one there when an enforcement officer comes by.

    “Do we leave a note and say, ‘Come pick it up at town hall’? What are we trying to accomplish? We’re responding to a couple people who say they don’t like to see canopies on the beach, but a replenished beach will create less crowding. The dune fences will be put back up. We can also put up signage.”

    Some support for 2019 implementation

    Killmer said he favored communicating regulations to everyone in the community, and that if the ordinance were to be adopted, he’d prefer to have it become effective not in 2018 but in 2019, to allow more time for the Town to communicate the new rules to the public. Healy said he agreed.

    “All these people come down and bring canopies…” he pointed out.

    Hardiman said she’d struggled with the issue “for a long time” and had been “reluctant to come to the conclusion that the best way to go was to ban canopies and umbrellas.” But, she replied to Killmer, “When you say there is no problem — if you read the comments, 70 percent feel there is a problem.”

    “I do agree there are people with legitimate needs for canopies,” she added, pointing to photographs the committee had taken as an illustration of people “who use them the right way and are considerate, but that hasn’t been the experience of 70 percent of people who go down to the beach.”

    Hardiman said the rental agents the committee had asked about the timing on enforcement of the ordinance had responded that, if they got the decision by March, that would be sufficient time to notify all the people who come to Bethany as renters.

    “We’ll make a communication effort. We’ll send another postcard to those who live or own here, and we’ll make use of the media to get word out to surrounding communities. There probably will be some people coming here” who won’t be aware of the change, “but I would not want to put it off to 2019.”

    Councilman Bruce Frye said he valued the survey for having let him see how his constituents felt.

    “I agree with that emotion — 70 percent don’t want canopies and tents. Rehoboth did this and had very little pushback. Based on those two facts, I’m fine with the motion.”

    Mayor Jack Gordon, noting he spends “an awful lot of time on the beach,” said, “This may be a small problem now — though 70 percent think it is a problem — but I’ve seen it grow, and it can’t get anything but worse than it is now. I think we’ll have to face it in the future if we don’t face the thing right now.”

    Gordon, calling himself “pretty elderly,” said he sits under an umbrella and has seen people who needed to be pushed onto the beach in a wheelchair use them as well. “I don’t think there’s a problem with an umbrella, as opposed to a canopy.”

    “I’m affected by the 70 percent who say there is a problem in the town. Initially, I thought we didn’t need a survey … that we should go ahead. And the survey did show what it did show and I was happy with how it came out, because I thought it was a problem before we went with the survey.”

    “I don’t want to delay,” he added. “All we need is education. We need signage, to let the Realtors know as soon as possible what the problem is. I’m impressed [they] didn’t think it would be a problem, as far as cutting down income for rentals.

    “We’re going to have a big beautiful beach this year, and we’re going to have fences to keep people off the dunes. But if you recall, three years ago we had a big beautiful beach, and look at what we have now. I don’t think it’s a problem that can be solved.

    Enforcement could

    follow smoking-ban model

    “It’s black and white, as far as I’m concerned,” Gordon added. “I don’t want beach police running up and down with their tape measures. … I don’t want enforcement to become a problem. I think we ought to do this on the front end.

    “We may have somebody, initially, going up and down the beach to make sure in the first years that people are familiar with this,” he said, “but in the survey there were a lot of other problems this person could address while doing that. … I’m totally in favor, and it should start in 2018.”

    Town Manager Cliff Graviet told the council that when the Town imposed its beach smoking ban, the policy in the first year was only to warn violators and not cite them. In fact, he said the Town has never issued a citation for a smoking violation. He said a similar policy might be a good compromise between enforcing the canopy ban in 2018 versus full-enforcement 2018.

    “There would be no penalty this year,” Gordon said. “We’re not going to confiscate them.”

    “With smoking, we found warnings work with our constituents on the beach,” Graviet said.

    The council voted not to push back enforcement until 2019. They then voted, 6-1, with Killmer the lone opponent, to direct CORC to draft an ordinance that would ban canopies, tents and oversized umbrellas from the beach, starting in 2018.

    With the measure requiring two readings before a vote on adoption, Killmer suggested the council not take the draft to another workshop but instead to discuss it at a first reading at their regular January meeting, make any changes they felt necessary and then vote on the regulation, with any changes, after a second reading in February.

    Hardiman inquired whether the council wished to have the ban in place year-round or just for the summer season, noting Rehoboth’s ban is a year-round one. Graviet said he would look at the effective dates for other seasonal ordinances to provide a consistent date if the council chooses to make the ban a seasonal one, and the council will be able to decide at the first reading whether the ban should be seasonal or year-round.


    0 0

    Coastal Point • Submitted : Anne Hanna’s ‘Flowers Alive’ painting. Hanna is one of the 14 artists participating in this year’s Southeastern Delaware Artist Studio Tour.Coastal Point • Submitted : Anne Hanna’s ‘Flowers Alive’ painting. Hanna is one of the 14 artists participating in this year’s Southeastern Delaware Artist Studio Tour.The SouthEastern Delaware Art Studio Tour (SEDAST) has been a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for 23 years, giving art lovers a chance to visit artists, often in their home studios, and learn about how they create their work.

    Started as a way for local artists to showcase their art and increase awareness of the richness of the artist community in the area, the tour has grown every year, according to spokesperson Jeanne Mueller.

    For the past 17 years, the tour has also benefited local schools, through donations to the schools’ art programs. The donations are collected through the “Art in the Hat” raffle, which is held in conjunction with the tour. Each artist donates a piece of artwork, and raffle tickets are sold in the artists’ studios during the two-day tour.

    This year, 14 artists are participating in the tour, and donating pieces to the raffle. The artists are: Ellen Rice, oils, pastels and watercolor; Cheryl Wisbrock, watercolor, acrylic and mixed water media; Sabie Carey, clay; Laura Lee Hickman, pastels; Eileen Olson, oil, acrylic, pastel and collage; Justin Cavagnaro, glass artist; Kim Doughty-Cavagnaro, ceramics and jewelry; John Donato, acrylics, murals and carvings; Dawn Pierro, jewelry; Jennifer E. Carter, photography, watercolor, oil and mural artist; Tom Frey, wood turner; Joel Antonioli Jr., woodworker; Anne Hanna, watercolors; and Jeffrey Todd Moore, stained glass, watercolor and photo manipulation.

    Seven of the artists in this year’s tour have been in it since the beginning, Mueller said. Just the fact that the tour has continued and grown for more than two decades is amazing in itself, she said. The addition of the Art in the Hat raffle has added a new dimension to the tour and a new mission for the artists.

    This year, Mueller said, that mission seems even more important, as schools are being forced to cut funding for “extras,” such as art classes. Each year, SEDAST sends letters to art teachers in the Indian River School District, asking them to submit “wish lists” that they would like funding for from the raffle.

    When the letters came in, Mueller said, some asked for help with special projects, as they do every year — “typically, things like fixing a kiln or buying a tablet,” she said. However, many of the letters came back asking for basic supplies.

    “They want money to buy paper and crayons!” she said.

    Teachers requested a total of $5,000 in supplies this year, Mueller said. Often, the teachers reach into their own pockets to pay for such supplies.

    So, SEDAST this year is urging the public to not only come out and enjoy the tours, but also to purchase raffle tickets.

    “We’re trying to get a lot of attention to that,” Mueller said.

    Items in this year’s raffle include a seaglass bracelet, a stained-glass crab, a twice-blown glass vase, a Shaker-style nightstand, a beverage crock, a turquoise-and-silver bracelet, a natural-edge wooden bowl and several framed or canvas art pieces with subjects ranging from a Portuguese village to a golden retriever romping in the surf.

    Raffle tickets cost $5 each or $20 for five. They will be available at each of the studios on the tour. Tickets will be gathered at the end of the tour on Saturday, and a winner drawn for each prize. Patrons can choose which item they would like to try to win.

    Brochures listing studios on the tour are available at businesses that are serving as tour sponsors this year: Gallery One, 32 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View; the Ellen Rice Gallery, 111 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View; Jayne’s Reliable, 33034 Main Street, Dagsboro; and Ocean Vayu Yoga, 29P Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View; and at other locations, including Wild About Birds, 19 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View; Creative Concepts, 31874 Roxana Road, Ocean View; and the Ocean View Post Office, 35764 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View.

    The tour will be held on Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and to see the art that will be included in the raffle, go to www.artstudiotour.com or check out the tour’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/sedasttour.

    Those who are not able to attend the tour can still help fund art in local schools through SEDAST by sending donations to P.O. Box 1154, Bethany Beach, DE 19930.


    0 0
  • 12/21/17--11:02: ‘It’s a blessing’
  • Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Violet Casey-Robidoux, 6, sits with Santa and Mrs. Claus in Frankford Town Park on Wednesday, Dec. 13.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Violet Casey-Robidoux, 6, sits with Santa and Mrs. Claus in Frankford Town Park on Wednesday, Dec. 13.’Twas a Wednesday
    near Christmas,

    and in Frankford park,

    The Christmas lights twinkled

    and lit up the dark.

    In a little warm hut,

    despite rain or mist,

    Santa Claus came

    to get kids’ Christmas lists.

    On a bitingly cold Wednesday night, a tiny electric heater manages to warm a small wooden shed at Frankford Town Park. It’s so chilly out that the door stays closed, unless a small child knocks on the door, with her parents close behind.

    She grins through the little glass window. Santa and Mrs. Claus are inside.

    This is Santa’s house, a home away from home built by local high school students so he can visit Frankford each year on Wednesday nights before Christmas.

    “Some children come every Wednesday,” Mrs. Claus said, and some kids come every year. “After four years, we’re watching them grow up.”

    Santa hangs on his fridge pictures that children bring him, with their Christmas list attached. The wish lists can be long and complex or short and simple. One boy wants “a book with letters in it” because he had just learned to read. One girl wants a baby sister, but Santa suggests she ask her parents about that. Almost everyone wants electronics.

    Santa reminds them to leave milk and cookies on Christmas Eve, plus a carrot for the reindeer. He chats with parents about the snow.

    Over the past decade, the Clauses have appeared at local libraries, fire halls and schools.

    “They do an amazing job. … I think they absolutely love it,” said Robert “Robbie” Murray Jr., a Frankford holiday organizer. “They’re genuine. That’s the best way to describe it.”

    Santa and his helpers make many appearances in order to get Christmas lists from many children. Mr. and Mrs. Claus said they felt honored to have heard this story from some Frankford parents: “They were out with their kids in another town, and they saw Santa, and they looked up at their mom and said, ‘Well, that’s just Santa’s helper. We know the real Santa’s in Frankford.”

    Kids are curious about the jolly old St. Nicolas, who lovingly shares gifts with children all around the world. “Santa why are your eyebrows white?” “Why do you wear a belt?”

    “One of them asked how I land the sleigh without snow,” Mr. Claus recalled. “I said, ‘Well, I land on the blacktop. Sparks are flying off the sleigh, because it’s metal meeting blacktop, so it’s kind of hard on the runners.’ One of them wanted to go back to the North Pole with me. I said, ‘Well, you gotta get permission from your mother,’” but she decided to travel another time.

    Sometimes, small children curl up in his arm, happy to hug the soft, fleecy suit. Some kids are scared to sit with the bearded man in a red suit, but that’s OK, too. They still get a “Merry Christmas!” and a high-five. Maybe they’ll be ready to sit on his lap another day.

    “If we can touch people’s hearts and make them happy, just for a few minutes of the day, we’ve accomplished our goal,” Mr. Claus said. “Just to see the excitement on the faces — it’s just wonderful. It’s a blessing to me.”

    In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will happily hug a whole family, since adults sometimes need holiday cheer, too.

    At Frankford Town Park, they appreciated that local churches gave out free hot chocolate and cookies but also made connections with families in need.

    The Clauses also promote local library programs that fit with children’s Christmas wishes. When kids ask for puppies or toy trains, they’ll get a flier about local libraries with monthly animal programs and model train displays.

    When not at the North Pole, the couple has had a “vacation home” in Dagsboro for about 13 years, where Mr. Claus lovingly builds and runs Christmas-themed train villages with an O gauge, which he happily welcomes guests to see year-round.

    Before that, the vacation house was near Hanover, Pa., where they ran an inn and sometimes greeted children during the holidays. When their son started a family and a cleaning business in Delaware, the Clauses came down to help with the business and the grandkids.

    “This is a wonderful community,” Mrs. Claus said.

    She and her husband are celebrating a golden wedding anniversary this year.

    Special thanks to Bill and Susan Day for helping the Coastal Point schedule an interview with the very busy Claus family.


    0 0

    Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Selah Wilson, 9, Katie Hughes, 3, and Allie Hughes, 1, stand in front of the sock donation bin at Lord’s Landscaping in Millville.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Selah Wilson, 9, Katie Hughes, 3, and Allie Hughes, 1, stand in front of the sock donation bin at Lord’s Landscaping in Millville.This holiday season, and throughout the coming year, a local 9-year-old is focusing on helping those who are less fortunate, by collecting socks.

    “It’s for the homeless,” said Selah Wilson, showing off a “Selah’s Socks for Souls” bin inside Lord’s Landscaping in Millville that was already brimming with socks.

    Last year, Wilson, a fourth-grader at John M. Clayton Elementary School, started collecting men’s, women’s and children’s socks to donate to Halo, a homeless shelter in Salisbury, Md.

    “They were talking about socks and how they always needed them,” said Wilson. “I like it because it helps other people to stay warm. Some of them walk miles to go to work and stuff… It’s what God wants us to do.”

    At first, Wilson was just collecting the socks at her elementary school, where only teachers were able to donate.

    “Thank you to Ms. Donna Toomey — she would stop by every day and bring socks.”

    So, Wilson expanded the effort, and is now collecting socks at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church and Lord’s Landscaping, with the hope of getting more people involved.

    “People can go out and buy socks and bring them here,” she said. “If we get other people to help us, we could get more socks and we could help more people than just a few.”

    “Selah actually called me and asked if she could put her bin in here,” said Amy Hughes, the office manager at Lord’s. “She decorated it all herself, and we got to have it in here, and it’s been wonderful. We’ve had people come in who have never been here before but heard about Selah and wanted to bring socks.”

    Wilson volunteers once a month at Halo with other members of Mariner’s CRASH youth group.

    “It’s fun. I get to play with the kids and talk with people,” she said, noting there’s one gentleman at the shelter she now calls “Pop-pop.”

    “A lot of them are like family,” added the Rev. Woody Wilson, Selah’s dad and pastor at Mariner’s. “They’re very loving people. They don’t just look for someone giving them a handout. A lot of them feel, ‘This is where I am today, but tomorrow might be different.’”

    So far, Selah Wilson has collected nearly 1,000 socks, with a goal of collecting 10,000 pairs.

    “Pastor Woody” said he and his wife, Christina — the youth director at Mariner’s — are extremely proud of Selah for wanting to support those in need.

    “We’re very proud of her. She came home and said we needed to do more than just go and serve. ‘Here’s a specific thing we can do,’” he said. “It was all her idea. She did the bins all by herself and came up with ‘Selah’s Socks for Souls’ on her own.”

    Along with donating the socks directly to Halo, Selah Wilson will also help distribute them at homeless camps in the area.

    “We’re blessed with what we have,” she said, noting that it’s important to help others.

    While Socks for Souls isn’t Selah Wilson’s first foray into the world of volunteerism, it is her first solo project, and one that she hopes to continue to expand.

    “We’ll go wherever we’re invited,” added Pastor Woody, noting that Selah will happily make more collection bins for businesses that would like to be a donation site.

    Selah Wilson also thanked Hughes for helping to spread the word of her sock drive through Lord’s business advertising.

    “And, she let us put our box in her store so people can donate here.”

    “I think it’s wonderful,” said Hughes. “I think it’s been great the community has come together to support her… One idea can make a really big difference at Christmas.”

    For more information about Selah’s Socks for Souls, or how to get a bin, contact Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church at (302) 539-9510. Mariner’s Bethel is located at 81 Central Avenue in Ocean View. Lord’s Landscaping is located at 35577 Atlantic Avenue in Millville. For more information, call (302) 539-6119 or visit www.lordslandscaping.com.


    0 0

    After months of public advocacy for the police and begging the South Bethany Town Council not to outsource police officers — no one from the general public made substantial comments last week when the council rolled out changes to employee policies.

    On Dec. 8, the council approved a charter change, holiday pay payouts, new police rankings and more employee policy changes.

    “I do want to recognize that this is the culmination of close to a year’s worth of work that crossed two councils, that has been done to unify and simplify our town policy,” said Councilman Tim Saxton.

    The council voted almost unanimously on the stack of changes proposed by the Archer Law consultants and ICMA Center for Public Safety Management (ICMA/CPSM).

    The afternoon council meeting was held two hours earlier than usual, so the mayor and two council members could close town hall to meet with all Town staff and police officers. More details were released publicly afterward.

    Various changes

    The council unanimously agreed to request a town charter amendment, which changes the reporting structure for the police chief, to now report to the town manager. That arrangement is common in nearby towns. The charter change must pass the Delaware General Assembly with a two-thirds majority in order to go into effect.

    Sick leave will be capped at an accrual of 200 sick days per employee. Employees who currently have more days than that will not be required to forfeit any.

    The SBPD Take Home Car program will be rescinded for new hires. Current officers will be grandfathered for continued use of vehicles.

    All existing pay charts will be rescinded. Instead, pay raises will be based on merit and cost-of-living increases.

    Employees are still eligible for educational assistance. But course study must be approved before the fiscal year, with an annual cap of $3,000 per employee.

    Vacation and comp time

    Benefits were rewritten, partly to clear up prior confusion and reduce future liability. Compensatory time will be limited to a 40-hour accumulation annually per employee. This month, anything above 40 hours will be paid out. Then, in April of 2018, any of the remaining 40 hours will be paid down as well. All employees will begin with a zero balance on May 1, 2018.

    Similarly, vacation time will be limited to 240 hours annually per employee. Any hours above that will be paid out by the end of April of 2018. Going forward, the Town will practice a “use it or lose it” policy.

    Based on recent calculation, Saxton estimated that the payout for both changes should not exceed $60,000. Employees may use their comp and vacation time before the deadlines, if they prefer the time to the money. The goal is to get the Town to a fresh starting point so they can apply new policies across the board in the new fiscal year.

    Conflict in the police ranking

    The police department’s waterfall of ranks will now be reduced to four simple ranks: chief, sergeant, police officer and probationary police officer.

    “All current officers will have their rank grandfathered. Due to a prior policy of two-year service consideration for additional compensation, all officers’ salaries will be examined for a possible adjustment to their annual salary in FY 2018. Town Council is currently studying those calculations and will attempt to adjust salaries where possible,” the council stated.

    Councilwoman Sue Callaway voted against the new policy manual as a whole, saying that she disagreed with the new rank structure.

    “For financial reasons and the future of the Town, I support the proposed future changes and rank structure and the policies that we have in this resolution,” Callaway said. “But I am opposed to the rank opportunities for current long-time employees.”

    “We had too many ranks,” she agreed. “We had 17 ranks.”

    But Callaway said she doesn’t like the police being “frozen in place in their rank. … It’s very important within law-enforcement. Ranking is very important.” The town must consider recruitment and retention in addition to minimizing ranks and addressing increasing police costs, she said.

    Although none of the police employees attended the council meeting, Callaway said there has been unhappiness expressed.

    “The word that I’ve heard is ‘devastating.’ I can’t speak to why they’ve used that word,” she said.

    Later on Friday afternoon, the Town posted an agenda for a town council executive session to discuss individual employees, on Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m.

    Police building to be reconsidered

    On Dec. 8, the council also considered discussion of the proposed police department renovations. After identifying some major liabilities in the current police station, they allowed some low-cost rearranging of the offices, to help separate the evidence, interview and processing areas for detainees. There are new keycards and fewer windows near detainees.

    However, Police Chief Troy Crowson said there is room for improvement, such as bullet-resistant glass and better audio separation of detainees.

    After the original cost estimates for some building renovations were higher than anticipated, Crowson enlisted professional help to draft a new proposal for interior renovations.

    Some walls would be rearranged to split the multipurpose room into distinct locker room, shower and kitchen areas. Evidence and processing would be further separated, and the armory would have limited, key-card access.

    Renovations would also limit the eye-line from the front window back into the station.

    It appears that the building footprint would only change a small bit, with a realignment of the side-entrance staircase.

    If the project is approved, the disruption to service should be “minimal,” the chief said. The timeline could be several months for the $60,000- to $80,000-project. Discussion will continue in February.

    In addition to possible grants or donations that might be available, Saxton requested that the Town’s Budget & Finance Committee review the project to identify other sources of money.


    0 0

    Late Tuesday afternoon, a Delaware law firm sent a message into the world: “If you know anything about the well water contamination in Millsboro, please call.”

    Jacobs & Crumplar P.A. is representing an undisclosed number of households in the Millsboro area after Mountaire officials revealed that at their poultry processing plant there, its wastewater treatment system had failed to properly remove nitrogen, fecal coliform concentrations, biochemical oxygen demand (BODs) and total suspended solids (TSS), spraying the untreated water across fields and potentially into water sources for the area.

    That is a scary premise for nearby residents, some of whom say they want a professional voice on their side when they begin working with big names, including Mountaire and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources (DNREC), to address contamination of their drinking water.

    “Jacobs & Crumplar P.A., who have successfully litigated environmental claims in Delaware, and co-counsel Nidel & Nace, who have broad and unique successful experience in environmental claims, are currently investigating this matter on behalf of their clients and request that anyone with information about this come forward to assist them in obtaining evidence,” the company announced on Dec. 19.

    This is just the beginning stages of possible legal action as residents get organized and the lawyers research the matter.

    “We represent some residents around the property and, basically, the press release is stating that we’re investigating at this time for our clients and basically calling for people who have knowledge of this event,” said attorney Raeann Warner. “There have been no [court] filings.”

    Warner wouldn’t comment on who is paying the attorney fees, or how the Delaware firm came to partner with Nidel & Nace PLLC, which specializes in environmental and toxic injury litigation.

    “Jacobs & Crumplar has been involved in occupational and environmental [law] since 1981, so I would say, in a general sense, we have specialized in asbestos and very heavily in sexual abuse claims, and most recently in civil rights,” Warner said.

    Jacobs & Crumplar is online at www.jcdelaw.com, and can be reached in Wilmington at (302) 656-5445 and Georgetown at (302) 934-9700.

    Mountaire ships drinking water

    After Mountaire was cited for high nitrate levels on-site, the State began testing nearby private wells for contamination. As that number increases, Mountaire is now following DNREC’s recommendation of providing bottled water to affected residences.

    Mountaire disposes of all wastewater through a spray irrigation system north and south of Route 24 in Millsboro. The facility can spray a monthly average of 2.6 million gallons per day. The wastewater is to be treated onsite, then used to irrigate local farms, so the crops in the fields consume excess nutrients and water then filters naturally into the ground.

    But when the effluent pipes somehow bypassed the treatment system — which urgently needs upgrades — the untreated water was sprayed directly onto Sussex County soil, in a region surrounded by privately-owned residential wells, which likely number in the hundreds.

    “Mountaire also agreed to provide bottled water and possibly other water treatment to other areas of concern surrounding the plant that have the potential to be impacted by nitrate contamination,” DNREC announced.

    Because of historically elevated nitrates from the site’s longtime use as a poultry facility, well water in the area gets higher scrutiny than most.

    In early December, 21 wells (of 34 tested) had exceeded the federal drinking water standard of 10mg/L of nitrates. Since then, DNREC officials have refused to say how many more households were tested, or their distance from the plant.

    “DNREC and DPH will continue to sample private wells in the area of Mountaire—Millsboro and will update results as they are provided. DNREC continues to engage Mountaire Farms on addressing issues from the company’s wastewater discharge,” spokesperson Michael Globetti said.

    The Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water (ODW) was pulled in to test water samples, to aid in DNREC’s investigation.

    “The laboratory method used for nitrates also reports levels of fluoride, nitrite, chloride and sulfate. None of these have been elevated in any of the samples,” said Keith Mensch, administrator for the Office of Drinking Water. “We are also conducting bacteriological testing. The results of these tests do not indicate that bacteriological contamination from Mountaire is a concern in the wells tested.”

    Nearby, inside Millsboro town limits, the municipality has not seen any elevated nitrate levels during their weekly tests.

    “The issue in question has not impacted the Town whatsoever. All of our wells are located to west and south of Indian River and Millsboro Pond,” said Sheldon Hudson, town manager.

    In fact, he said the municipality is content not to expand its infrastructure eastward across the Route 24 bridge because of the permitting challenge to cross the water.

    Nervous about nitrates

    Mountaire had already been providing water or treatment to eight nearby households for the last 14 years, due to high nitrate levels in their wells.

    According to the EPA, young infants who consume high nitrate levels in bottle formula can suffer shortness of breath or “blue-baby” syndrome, which disrupts oxygen flow in the blood. Nitrates cannot be removed by boiling water, by mechanical filters or by chemical disinfection, such as chlorination.

    “The Division of Public Health recommends using either bottled water, or water that has been treated to remove nitrates, for drinking, cooking, preparation of formula and other consumption. Elevated levels of nitrate are not a concern for bathing, dishwashing and other cleaning activities,” the agency stated.

    For drinking water, the two standard methods of nitrate removal are reverse osmosis for a single site (such as one sink) or ion exchange for larger applications (such as a whole house).

    Although the EPA doesn’t regulate private wells, DNREC does oversee construction of them, and the Office of Drinking Water can provide support, such as helping DNREC with recent sampling, or being a public resource for information and advice.

    Public water systems, such as the one operated by the Town of Millsboro, are tested and treated weekly, but private wells are the owners’ responsibility. The government recommends at least annual testing and inspections.

    In general, people can test private wells with kits that can be obtained for $4 from the Thurman Adams State Service Center at 546 S. Bedford Street, Georgetown, or residents can call the Division of Public Health at (302) 856-5241. The kits test for nitrates, bacteria and more.


    0 0

    The Ocean View Town Council is tired of waiting for a response on Woodland Avenue. Having proposed a drainage and paving project that would improve road conditions, the Town has been unable to start digging because some property owners are unwilling to participate.

    In order to install a stormwater drainage pipe, the Town needs permission to dig on some private property.

    “The Woodland project is not getting done because of a list of people…” said Councilman Frank Twardzik, but the rest of the residents want relief from drainage problems.

    Four property owners gave the OK, but Ocean View needs permission from another six, most of whom are outside town limits.

    Every day that people don’t respond to phone calls or letters is another day of road trouble.

    “The road is deteriorating fast,” said Mayor Walter Curran.

    Some property owners are unhappy that they’d lose trees or landscaping to the project, but “It’s a safety issue,” said Charles McMullen, town administrative official.

    Additionally, the repair work is just going to get more expensive as the maintenance can gets kicked down the road.

    “An easement is not a taking of their property,” McMullen clarified.

    The Woodland Avenue Extended drainage project was written into the current fiscal year’s budget, but it has gotten nowhere fast. The council may take the next step of asking their attorney to send letters to each household. Conversation on the subject will continue at a future meeting.

    Police request more staff in budget draft

    It’s time to begin drafting the 2019-fiscal-year budget, so the town council offered town staff guidance on several issues.

    The police department has requested an additional police officer position. Grant money would help pay for the salary, benefits, vehicle and more. The council noted that the cost of a new patrol car is significantly more than the cost of the wear and tear caused by officers sharing a vehicle. Response time can also improve if each officer has an individual car.

    The police department has also requested a special administrative assistant position. That person would help with regular office work, in addition to helping develop emergency plans, liaising with other public safety organizations and providing IT support. Curran said the police are inundated with bureaucracy and paperwork, as well as having need of a techie.

    Deciding they shouldn’t rely so heavily on transfer taxes for the Town’s operating budget, the council will also consider moving that income to the capital projects fund. They also weighed in on other staff salary adjustments and bonuses.

    The public can attend budget workshops and hearings from January to March, which should culminate in budget approval on April 10. The Town’s fiscal year begins on May 1.

    Money talk

    To simplify budgeting in the future, Ocean View will also follow a process many local towns use: its fee schedule will be changed via resolution, rather than written into the town code.

    Currently, every code ordinance requires two readings before it can be enacted. In contrast, a resolution could be enacted immediately.

    The council unanimously approved the changes to Town Code Chapter 3.

    Property taxes will also be collected slightly differently from usual. Ocean View will no longer use a third-party vendor, which should save the Town $229,000 over the next five years. Instead, Ocean View will use Sussex County’s assessment figures.

    “Our employees do the billing, and we collect the money. That’s where the savings come in,” said Finance Director Sandra Peck.

    Officially, the council replaced Chapter 5 (Board of Assessments) of the town code with a paragraph stating the Town uses Sussex County assessments.

    Property owners should still expect tax bills in the mail around May.

    In other Ocean View Town Council news:

    • Building a patio? Residents still need to get permits for housing repair and renovations, but under the new fee schedule, the permits will be free for projects valued at less than $5,000. The Town may lose an average of $16,000 in permit fees, plus $5,500 in emergency service fees (which are included in building permits), but council members said they wanted to reduce the pain to homeowners’ wallets.

    • Double disappointment hit John West Park’s holiday celebration this month. First, someone vandalized the park’s Christmas tree by physically cutting the strings of holiday lights. That was discovered just before the Dec. 9 Holiday in the Park celebration, which ended up being canceled due to snowy weather.

    • Mediacom has sent a letter notifying the Town of monthly rate increases coming for the new year. That includes monthly increases in a number of fees: local broadcast station surcharge ($5.14); regional sports surcharge ($0.41); family TV ($3.54); HD ($1); SD ($2); and non-TiVo DVR service ($4.04). Mediacom customers should have received a letter as well.

    • The Town has two new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or “drones”), which will require a $2,846 insurance coverage, added to the police budget.

    The Ocean View Town Council’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m.


    0 0

    Coastal Point • File Photo: The Blue Christmas service at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church has traditionally provided comfort and spiritual guidance for people who need a little of both during the holiday season.Coastal Point • File Photo: The Blue Christmas service at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church has traditionally provided comfort and spiritual guidance for people who need a little of both during the holiday season.While Christmas is a joyous time for many, it can also be a time of sadness for some — highlighting loss, loneliness and grief.

    With their annual Blue Christmas service, Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church hopes to support those who may not be in the Christmas spirit. This year’s service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 23 — the eve of Christmas Eve — beginning at 6:30 p.m.

    Retired pastor Kay Lanasa, who leads Mariner’s Healing Prayer Ministry, brought the unique service to Ocean View a dozen years ago from her former parish in Virginia.

    “It’s for the lost, lonely, and grieving and overwhelmed. It’s for people who are not happy or joyful at Christmas — this is a place they can come for a service. They don’t have to do anything; they can just sit.”

    While music is played and scripture read during the service, Lanasa said it is not a typical Christmas service that people may attend on Christmas Eve.

    “We don’t sing Christmas carols. The music is very light, the church is dimly lit. People who come don’t have to do anything but sit.

    “Those who need it, come,” she said, noting that this year’s focus is on comfort and hope. “Mainly because of all the stuff that is going on this year, I felt people needed to feel comforted and safe. We’re dealing with so many things. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the world’s issues, this is a place to come and sit and be in prayer.”

    Mariner’s prayer ministers will be in attendance at the service. Those who wish to have company, either in silence or in prayer, may find support in the ministers.

    “We provide a place to pray for each person if they want prayer. It’s to provide that comfort,” she added.

    In previous years, the Blue Christmas service focused on military families and on caregivers — themes that Lanasa said were “provided by God.”

    Lanasa said it is important during the busy holiday season to remember that not everyone is happy, but that some may be in need of additional support.

    “People are dealing with a lot of stuff. That’s just the way the world is today. Some people don’t get to go home, wherever home is,” she said. “A lot of people who live here are retired, and a lot of people don’t go anywhere for Christmas, so you have a whole group that is elderly and don’t leave.”

    She said the service, which is open to all — regardless of their faith — does help those in need.

    “We had a couple who came about eight years ago,” shared Lanasa. “The two came separately — as a widow and a widower. They did not know each other. They met after the service, out in the hall, built a relationship and eventually got married. Well, last year they came together to remember they had met there… It’s a beautiful story, how we think everyone there is in some kind of need, but they were there because they were brought together there… You never know.

    “There was one person who came, didn’t like the service, left, got down to the corner and felt God was saying, ‘Go back to the service.’ He did, and he was very blessed.”

    Lanasa said the service may vary in attendance from year to year, but the important thing is that it is offered to those in need, and that, hopefully, those in need will find Mariner’s.

    “There are lots of stories, and they’re never the same. God does what God is going to do. All the team has to do is show up and be open to wherever the spirit is leading them.”

    Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church is located at 81 Central Avenue, just off Route 26, in Ocean View. For more information regarding the service, call (302) 539-9510.


    0 0

    The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission was set to meet Thursday evening, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. (after Coastal Point press time), and among the items on the commission’s extensive docket for the meeting is a change-of-zone request for a property located at the southeast corner of Bayard and Double Bridges roads.

    Currently zoned AR-1 (agricultural-residential), the parcel is approximately 24.8 acres; however, the change-of-zone being requested (to Business-1) is only for approximately 5.11 acres of the overall parcel. The application was filed by Lemuel H. Hickman GST Exempt Trust fbo Brenton Archut.

    The site plan accompanying the application includes a draft layout of the area — including 51 parking spaces, proposed right-of-way dedication and stormwater management. It also includes five separate structures, including two proposed greenhouses/storage areas — with a total footprint of approximately 10,142 square feet.

    Those who wish to learn more about the application may attend the public hearing on Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. in County Council Chambers, at 2 The Circle in Georgetown.


    0 0

    Fourteen men will have a warm, safe home to wake up in on Christmas morning.

    The shelter, in downtown Bethany Beach, is thanks in large part to the community and a partnership between Serving Others Under the Lord (SOUL) Ministries and House of Mercy, and the Southeast Sussex Ministerium, which allowed for SOUL to use Stone House — one of the vacant houses on the grounds of the Bethany Beach Christian Church Conference Center — as a shelter for those who would otherwise be out in the cold.

    Eric Snyder of SOUL, who lives at the home with the men during shelter season, said the partnership has been wonderful, giving many men who do not have housing the opportunity to have a place to stay from mid-November to mid-March.

    “We’ve had one local guy who just needed a leg up. He worked for a local handyman… While he was living here, he found a place for $250 a month, so he’s already up and left,” said Snyder. “There’s another local guy who had marriage problems. He ended up in foreclosure and came to us. They range in age and the ‘why.’ The youngest guy we have is 22, and the oldest we have is over 60.

    “In the first season, it was a lot of drinking in the woods,” Snyder acknowledged. “The face of homelessness has changed drastically since we started. Before, everyone was between 40 and 62. There was a lot of drinking, a lot off divorce, a lot of recession fallout… Now, we’re seeing a lot more pain.”

    A typical day at the shelter starts off with breakfast and lots of coffee, Snyder described with a laugh. Then the whole group heads to SOUL’s most recent endeavor — House of Mercy (HOM), a thrift store just outside of Selbyville, which also serves as a place of worship and future site of a community center. There, they connect with Snyder’s wife, Cherith, who is the other half of SOUL’s leadership.

    “The guys really like giving back,” said Snyder of the residents helping out at HOM during the day. “They don’t want a free ride. The guys who don’t want to change won’t even go into the Code Purples,” he noted of the statewide group of cold-weather shelters. “The guys who want to change don’t want a free ride… They’re thrilled to be helping us at the thrift store.”

    After the workday is completed, they all pile back into SOUL’s 15-person passenger van and head back to the house in Bethany.

    “The Ministerium — the collection of churches in southeastern Sussex — have come together and cook meals,” said Snyder. “That’s been a huge blessing this year. So far, we’ve seen actual restaurants bringing us dinner.

    “Right after dinner, we have devotional time — like a spiritual group-therapy. Everything we do is Jesus-based… I know we can teach them hope, but if they don’t know where that hope comes from, it’s very hard to latch onto when you’re feeling that helpless.”

    Following dinner, all those in the house complete their “responsibilities.”

    “We don’t call them ‘chores,’ because they’re not 5. But, when you live in a house with 14 guys, you’re going to make a mess and you’re going to get sick,” said Snyder, noting they sweep, mop and sanitize the house. “After that, they’re free to do whatever they want.

    “The more you treat someone like an adult, the more you treat someone like a responsible member of society, the more they’re going to grow into that. We raise them up. We’re just 15 guys living in a beach house. And if they have that mentality, it’s such an uplift from being one guy, isolated by himself, in a tent.”

    The program has evolved over the years, and offers the residents help with transportation, and the ability to start over.

    “We’ve evolved into a program,” said Snyder, noting they help with AA and NA counseling, as well as with getting residents, if they wish, their GED or IED.

    “We’re a program, more than a shelter. The guys get it and are really latching onto it. ‘Oh, I can make myself better? Let’s do this!’ We’re not just getting them out of a tent but moving them on in life.”

    Snyder said that sometimes it takes a while for residents to get out of their own way, but they eventually get there.

    In the near future, Snyder said he hopes to expand HOM, so that everything SOUL works on can be in one central location.

    “We want this all in one place. We want to be able to house where we have the day center, where we have the church, where we have the thrift store. We really need the all-day thing in one place.”

    This year’s Christmas at the house may be the best so far, said Snyder, noting that his teenage daughters and wife will be joining them at the house on Christmas Eve and stay through Christmas Day.

    “Every year, we have a tree and have gotten them stockings with little gifts. One year, Santa Claus gave us remote-control cars… This year, our girls are joining us,” he said, noting they helped decorate the Christmas trees at the Bethany house.

    “We’ll spend Christmas Eve at HOM. We’ll have finger-food, buffet food set up, with turkey. We’ll have a midnight service where we sing Christmas carols. Then we’ll wake up and have Christmas at the house with our whole family.”

    Snyder said that, since SOUL’s inception in 2013, the community has embraced its efforts and mission.

    “The community has been amazing. It seems the more we grow, the more this community gets onboard. The further we reach, the further people ask, ‘Oh, what can I do?’ It’s truly been amazing — especially Community Lutheran Church, which has been like our right arm,” he said.

    “They’re doing gifts. A few other organizations and churches are doing gifts. We may see a Christmas hook-up like we’ve never seen,” Snyder said. “They’ll probably get a lot of chess sets, which is awesome. We play a lot of chess around here. It’s awesome, because it makes you think, it gets you out of your head, and it forces you to talk to somebody. I’m sure there’ll be lots of gloves, flashlights and other necessities of life.”

    An overarching theme of the last nearly five years, Snyder said, is that “God provides” — which is what took the Snyders from serving soup out of a van to where they are today.

    “When you think about it, we had no idea what we were doing, we had no budget. We just grabbed the soup made that day, the towels and toiletries out of our own closets, and just ran. God showed us all of this… We went from asking a question to being the answer.”

    Throughout the years, and still today, so many individuals, businesses and organizations have given their support to SOUL through donations of time, money, items and food. Snyder said that, without the constant support, SOUL — and those whose lives they’ve touched over the years — would not be where they are today.

    “The beauty that we’re in Bethany… It’s so beautiful to know that one of the richest communities is helping some of the least… It’s so beautiful to see, when you have towns that aren’t quite Bethany go ‘Not in my back yard,’ to have Bethany say, ‘Come put it in our front yard.’ It’s truly amazing the heart that this community has.”

    Those looking to support SOUL may contact Cherith Snyder at (302) 632-4289. SOUL Ministries may also be found on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/soulministriesde. House of Mercy is located at 36674 DuPont Highway, north of Selbyville, on the southbound side of Route 113.


    0 0

    The Town of Fenwick Island has begun their quest to build sidewalks along Coastal Highway. Currently, pedestrians have an irregular path along the major thoroughfare, with sidewalks just here and there. Having seen too many baby strollers on the highway shoulders, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean helped start the new Fenwick Island Pedestrian Safety Committee.

    Committee members were thrilled on Dec. 18 when Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) staff announced that $70,000 was available to begin planning for a new sidewalk project in the town.

    At the very least, they hope to construct a 5-foot-wide sidewalk, likely with a 2-foot buffer from the highway, for safety seasons. The project could fill in the gaps in the sidewalk along the 1.3-mile stretch of Route 1.

    Now, armed with an old roadway survey that the Town commissioned in 2011, DelDOT is going to see if the data holds up, and if the paper stack can be easily digitized.

    With $70,000 in planning money, DelDOT will study the old Landmark Engineering survey and begin design engineering. With a solid concept plan, DelDOT can get cost estimates, host a public hearing and determine how to actually pay for construction. It could be split into phases, with town, state and/or federal funding.

    State Rep. Ron Gray (R-38th) was at the meeting, taking notes, and suggested that his legislative Community Transportation Fund (CTF) money may be available for the project, too.

    But they’ll worry about construction funding another year, since this may be a three- to five-year process.

    There was obvious gratitude from committee members, who are mostly past and present council members.

    “A few months ago, we had no plan. We weren’t even on the radar. Now we’ve got $70,000, and we have a plan,” Town Manager Terry Tieman said. “And we’ll keep the pressure on, to keep that plan moving.”

    “Most of us ran [for office] on a platform of having sidewalks,” joked Councilman Richard Mais.

    Currently, some business parking lots are so close to the road that pedestrians must choose between walking on the highway or through the parking lot. Over the years, some business parking lots have encroached into the state’s right-of-way. They might lose a few parking spots when the State exercises its claim over that land.

    DelDOT also has a few retaining walls to work around. But one-way traffic in the parking lots could help accommodate the squeeze while ensuring shoppers still have room.

    Carmean said she will continue meeting with the Business Development Committee, so there will be fewer surprises as the sidewalk plan progresses. She said business owners have generally been receptive.

    “Stay involved. It does take a little bit of time,” recommended Anthony Aglio, DelDOT planning supervisor. “It increases livability, it increases safety — hopefully, economic development. That’ll … reduce congestion.”

    People are interested in the safety issue, as well as the economics of a walkable town, said Tieman. If people can comfortably walk from one shopping center to the next, that could also reduce overall vehicle traffic.

    Fenwick also requires businesses to install sidewalks if the building is improved by at least 50 percent of its value.

    Public transit adds another side to the story. As DART looks to increase bus service to Ocean City, Md., Fenwick might gain some bus stops or even pull-off areas. If DART hopes to use the median or turn lanes as a bus lane, then sidewalks will be especially critical to keep pedestrians out of traffic. If DART is already considering site work, though plans are still up in the air right now. Fenwick could capitalize by piggybacking on that project.

    “We’re moving forward, and we’re excited,” Carmean said.

    The next Pedestrian Safety Committee meeting will be scheduled after the new year.


older | 1 | .... | 174 | 175 | (Page 176) | 177 | 178 | .... | 197 | newer